Northumberland National Park Walks
Situated in the northeast corner of England, Northumberland National Park is an historic county that has long served as a border frontier to the wild lands of Scotland to the north, as is evident from the wealth of ancient Roman and Medieval fortifications throughout the region. While the strategic importance of this area has subsided in modern times, ‘the place of those living north of the Humber’ is still adorned with engineering and architectural wonders, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall that stretches across the north of England, as well as iconic castles like those found at Alnwick and Bamburgh. This complex past has created a culture unlike anywhere else in England, as influences from both sides of the border have converged over time to create unique costumes that are fascinating to explore.
While the rich history and culture of Northumberland will be readily apparent, so will the natural beauty of the region. Characterized by rugged upland areas like the Cheviot Hills, vast coastal plains that are perfectly suited to agriculture, and breathtaking seaside landscapes, this stunning region will leave you amazed at every turn. If you are looking for a beautifully scenic destination for your next adventure that features a bit of everything, then look no further than England’s most northerly county.
10 Best Walking Routes In Northumberland
With such a rich diversity of terrain that includes beautifully scenic seaside landscapes, vast coastal plains, and rugged upland areas, Northumberland is the perfect place to set out on a fantastic walking adventure. Here, you will find a nearly endless supply of walking routes that are geared towards all ages and skill levels, from relaxing strolls along the coast to thrilling excursions into the undulating terrain of the Cheviot Hills. For those outdoor enthusiasts that are more inclined to explore historical or cultural sites, the vast collection of ancient Roman fortifications and Medieval castles will allow you to travel back in time while providing countless hours of educational fun. If you aren’t familiar with the county, it can be a bit daunting to start planning an adventure, so we’ve put together this list of our 10 favourite walking routes in Northumberland below to help get you out exploring the northern borderlands of England.
- Bamburgh Castle and Budle Point Walk: This amazing walking route will take you along the rugged terrain of the Northumberland coast to view the ruins of a Norman era castle set against the dramatic backdrop of the North Sea.
- Holy Island of Lindisfarne Walk: Another fantastic coastal adventure, this walk will take you around a tidal island that was once seen as one of the holiest sites in Anglo-Saxon England, and features a stunning 16th Century castle and 7th Century priory.
- Alnwick Castle and Gardens Walk: The Alnwick Castle and Gardens Walk is an amazing family-friendly adventure that will take you around the grounds of a Norman era castle, although it will likely be very busy due to it being a filming location for the Harry Potter films.
- Happy Valley Circular Walk: Featuring beautiful countryside views and fascinating historical sites, this walk will take you to visit the ruins of an abandoned village that dates back to the Medieval period.
- Seahouses to Craster Walk: If exploring the coast on a lengthy one-way trail is your idea of fun, then you will definitely love the Seahouses to Craster Walk, which takes in a number of lovely seaside villages and the historic Dunstanburgh Castle.
- Cragside House Walk: This fun excursion in Northumberland will lead you through a wonderful stretch of woodland terrain to visit a Victorian era country house, making it ideal for a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts.
- Dunstanburgh Castle Coastal Walk: Another, shorter route leading to the magnificent Dunstanburgh Castle, this trail will take you along the coast to explore the 16th Century fortifications up close, while also offering some amazing views of the sea.
- Sill and Sycamore Gap Walk: Quick, easy, and beautifully scenic, the Sill and Sycamore Gap Walk will expose you to the natural beauty of the Northumberland countryside, as well as its rich history by visiting Hadrian’s Wall.
- Hadrian's Wall and Vindolanda Fort Circular Walk: Another wonderful walking route that will showcase the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall, this trail will also stop off at a Roman auxiliary fort that was occupied from roughly 85 CE to 370 CE.
- Alnmouth to Warkworth Walk: This trail is an exceptional adventure that will take you through a variety of landscapes, including riverside settings and the beautiful Northumberland coast, before arriving at the ruins of a 12th Century castle.
When is the Best Time to Walk in Northumberland?
The county of Northumberland can be found in the northeast of England and has a temperate maritime climate, meaning that the summers here are typically warm and the winters are cool to cold. Rainfall is fairly consistent year-round and the area will likely see some snowfall throughout the winter; however Northumberland rarely experiences extreme weather, meaning that any time of year is suitable for a visit. If you are looking to undertake a walking adventure in Northumberland, the best time would be during the summer months when temperatures are at their warmest, although if you are looking to avoid the influx of summer tourists it would be best to visit during autumn.
Other Outdoor Activities in Northumberland
While walking is arguably the most popular outdoor activity in Northumberland, there are a number of other fun activities that can be undertaken to experience the natural beauty of the landscape here. For those who enjoy sticking to land-based adventures, cycling, mountain biking, ziplining, paintballing, quad biking, rock climbing, and horseback riding are all popular options; while water sports enthusiasts will find comfort in the countless opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, sailing, and angling.
Epic Adventure Tours in Northumberland
Planning adventure travel can sometimes be an overwhelming experience, particularly if you aren’t overly familiar with the region you are looking to travel to. That’s why we have partnered with local guides all across the United Kingdom, to ensure that all of the little details are taken care of so that you can focus on enjoying your next adventure. If you want to experience the natural and historic beauty of Northern England without the hassle of planning every aspect of your trip, be sure to check out our list of adventure tours in Northumberland.
Frequently Asked Questions About Northumberland
Is Northumberland in England or Scotland?
While the culture of Northumberland does share quite a few similarities with the Lowlands of Scotland, it is actually the northernmost county of England.
What food is Northumberland famous for?
While there are a number of iconic foods from Northumberland, some of the most popular are Earl Grey Tea, Craster Kippers, and Singin’ Hinnies.
What is Northumberland famous for?
There are a number of notable things about Northumberland; however, the most well-known is likely the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall that was built by the Romans in 122 CE.
Find other spectacular walking regions in the United Kingdom
Best Hikes in Northumberland National Park
Kirknewton Hillfort Walk
The Kirknewton Hillfort Walk is a fascinating adventure in the Northumberland countryside that will take you to historical sites and scenic viewpoints. While out walking the trail, you will visit the Church of St Gregory with its famous carving of the Adoration of the Magi, before climbing up to the summits of St Gregory’s Hill and West Hill to explore an Iron Age hillfort. This is a great walking route for anyone with historical interests.
Hedley on the Hill CIrcular Walk
The Hedley on the Hill Circular Walk is a fantastic adventure through the countryside of northumberland that offers scenic views of the surrounding forests and farmland. While out walking the trail, you will pass through the charming village of Hedley on the Hill, before making your way across the countryside and through a tranquil stretch of woodland terrain. This is a nice and easy adventure if you are simply looking to get outside and enjoy nature.
Warden to Simonburn Walk
The Warden to Simonburn Walk is a pleasant journey through the Northumberland countryside that offers some nice views and passes by interesting historical sites. While out walking the trail, you will make your way along the banks of the River South Tyne and traverse the open farmland, before passing by Hadrian’s Wall on the way into Simonburn. Walkers should take note that this is a one-way trail, so you will need to either make travel arrangements or double the overall distance to return to the trailhead.
Upper Coquetdale Walk
The Upper Coquetdale Walk is a rough and rugged adventure that will lead you through one of the wildest sections of Northumberland County. While out walking the trail, you will leave the village of Alwinton behind to explore the undulating valleys and hills that were once frequented by the Scottish outlaw Rob Roy in the 17th Century. This is a beautifully scenic adventure, although the pathways can be sometimes challenging to navigate.
Corbridge to Chollerford Walk
The Corbridge to Chollerford Walk is a great outdoor adventure that will take you across Northumberland to view its beautiful farmlands and historical sites. While out walking the trail, you will traverse the open countryside between Corbridge and Chollerford, visiting the various ancient Roman sites - such as the Corbridge Roman Town and Hadrian’s Wall - along the way. Walkers should keep in mind that this is a one-way trail, meaning you will need to either make travel arrangements or double back for an extra 17.1 km on the return to the trailhead.
Bakethin North Shore Walk
The Bakethin North Shore Walk is a fantastic excursion in Northumberland that will expose you to a variety of terrain, including a tranquil forest and lakeside setting. While out walking the trail, you will pass through a forest and cross over the River North Tyne, making your way through the woodland landscape before returning along the shores of the Bakethin Reservoir and the impressive Kielder Viaduct. This easy-going trail is packed full of amazing views, making it ideal for a fun family adventure in Northern England.
Scout Adventures Hawkhirst Circular Walk
The Scout Adventures Hawkhirst Circular Walk is a beautifully scenic route through Northumberland that will showcase the natural beauty and wildlife species in the region. While out walking the trail, you will make your way along the shoreline of Kielder Water and pass by the Kielder Bird of Prey Centre, before looping around for the return leg. This is a fantastic adventure for outdoor enthusiasts of all varieties that are looking to experience Northern England at its best.
The Cheviots, Hen Hole, and Auchope Cairn Walk
The Cheviots, Hen Hole, and Auchope Cairn Walk is a beautiful and simultaneously challenging route in Northumberland that will take you into the Cheviot Hills to view a charming waterfall. While out walking the trail, you will follow along the banks of College Burn and climb uphill through the College Valley to view the cascading waters at Hen Hole, before continuing through the hills to reach Auchope Cairn. This route will certainly tire you out, but the views are truly spectacular.
Ingram Wether Hill and Ewe Hill Road Walk
The Ingram Wether Hill and Ewe Hill Road Walk is an excellent Northumberland adventure that features a variety of terrain and scenic views across the landscape. While out walking the trail, you will work your way around the Branton Ponds and along the River Breamish, before traversing the undulating terrain of Wether Hill, Cochrane Pike, and Ewe Hill on the return. Be sure to exercise caution on the return leg of the walk, as it does follow along the road for a good stretch.
Wallington Hall Walk
The Wallington Hall Walk is a fun family-friendly route in Northumberland that will take you around a forested estate dating back to the 15th Century. While out walking the trail, you will meander through a tranquil stretch of forest and enjoy views overlooking scenic ponds, before looping around to visit the impressive architecture of Wallington Hall. This is a laidback journey with wheelchair friendly trails that can be enjoyed by adventurers of all skill levels.
Falstone Forest and River North Tyne Walk
The Falstone Forest and River North Tyne Walk is a fantastic outdoor excursion in Northumberland that features lovely stretches of woodland and peaceful riverside settings. While out walking the trail, you will leave behind the village of Falstone and climb uphill through the forest, where you will take in stunning views across the valley before looping around alongside the River North Tyne. This is a great route if you enjoy exploring a variety of terrain.
Nelly’s Moss and Cragside Circular Walk
The Nelly’s Moss and Cragside Circular Walk is a great family-friendly adventure in Northumberland that features scenic architectural and natural views. While out walking the trail, you will explore the grounds of the Victorian-era Cragside House, before continuing on to a series of picturesque woodland ponds. This is a great trail that will allow you to explore the history of the area and reconnect with nature.
Norham Circular Walk
The Norham Circular Walk is a quick and easy adventure in Northumberland that features laidback terrain and a lovely riverside setting. While out walking the trail, you will pass through the charming village streets of Norham on the way to the banks of the River Tweed, at which point you will take in the pleasant views across the England/Scotland border. This is a fantastic walking route for those who enjoy peaceful riverside settings.
Great Hetha Circular Walk
The Great Hetha Circular Walk is an exceptional adventure in Northumberland that will take you to a breathtaking summit overlooking the Cheviot Hills and College Valley. While out walking the trail, you will travel along St Cuthbert’s Way before climbing up the slopes of Great Hetha, where you will experience arguably the best views overlooking the Cheviot Hills. This intermediate length adventure is perfect for those who don’t mind a bit of uphill walking to earn some spectacular views.
Preston Hill and Cold Law Circular Walk
The Preston Hill and Cold Law Circular Walk is a wonderfully scenic - if rugged at times - adventure in Northumberland that offers beautiful views of the undulating landscape. While out walking the trail, you will climb uphill to traverse several hilltop vantage points, before looping around the moor on the return. Parts of this walk are poorly marked and feature rough terrain, so make sure to wear proper walking boots and bring a GPS/trail map and compass for navigation.
Falstone and North Haul Road Walk
The Falstone and North Haul Road is a lengthy adventure in Northumberland that will take you along a quiet road for views of a charming lake. While out walking the trail, you will leave the village of Falstone behind while meandering along North Haul Road, enjoying the scenic views of the surrounding forests and nearby Kielder Water in the process. Walkers should remember to wear comfortable footwear and keep an eye out for passing vehicles, as the entirety of this route follows the road.
Brandon, Brough Law, and Wether Hill Circular Walk
Walking the Brandon, Brough law, and Wether hill Circular Trail is a fantastic outing in Northumberland that will see you traverse several hilltops for scenic views. While out walking the trail, you will follow along the banks of the River Breamish and traverse the tops of Brough Law, Ewe Hill, Cochrane Pike, and Wether Hill, before rounding the Branton Ponds on the return leg. This walk features a fair amount of undulating terrain, so be sure to wear proper walking boots.
Allen Banks Walk
The Allen Banks Walk is a pleasant outdoor adventure in Northumberland, UK that will take you through a woodland gorge to relax amongst nature. While out walking the trail, you will meander along forested pathways along the winding banks of the River Allen, while taking in the tranquil woodland atmosphere. This is an exceptional route for those looking to enjoy some peace and quiet in the woods.
Eltringham Bridleway Walk
The Eltringham Bridleway Walk is a wonderful woodland adventure in Prudhoe, Northumberland that will take you along the banks of the River Tyne. While out walking the trail, you will traverse a series of pleasant forest pathways, making several small climbs alongside the river before looping around through the park. Walkers should be sure to wear proper footwear, as sections of the trail can become quite wet and muddy after periods of heavy rainfall.
Thrunton Wood Walk
The Thrunton Wood Walk is a short family-friendly walking route in Northumberland that will lead you through a tranquil stretch of woodland terrain. While out walking the trail, you will meander along quiet forest pathways that climb slightly uphill, before looping around the hilltop and descending on the return. This is a great adventure if you are looking for a bit of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
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